PokeBeachHey y’all, Jack here, I hope you are all well, and welcome to my article on my favourite deck in the Modified Format – Charizard.
Indeed those who know me better will know Charizard is, in my view at least, the greatest Pokémon ever created, and I’m sure many fanboys from the Red/Blue era will agree. Fire Pokémon will incinerate, cremate, and decimate the competition.
Anyway, after that somewhat irrelevant prelude, let’s analyse this underrated and overlooked deck.
To begin with, I will explain the advantages Charizard has over other Stage 1/2 swarm decks like Kingdra and Donphan, because otherwise there is no reason to run it at a tournament.
Kingdra and Donphan are known to have a very strong early game and a high chance of donking, each dealing 60 damage for 1 energy with minor drawbacks. Charizard can match or even better this damage for the same cost courtesy of its Poké-Body “Fire Formation” which increases its damage output by 10 for each Fire type Pokémon on your bench.
Without this asset Charizard is nothing more than a sub-par Stage 2.
Charizard also has a far better late game than either of the two decks I mentioned, with a damage potential of a colossal 130 or 150 with “Burning Wing,” given a full bench of Fire type Pokémon.
The other main advantage of Charizard is its impressive matchups against the main archetypes in the Modified Format.
PokeBeachGyarados and Kingdra which exploit Charizard’s water type weakness are far from autolosses. Facing Gyarados for example, presuming both Charizard and Gyarados are unbelted, Charizard has the ability to OHKO ‘Dos and avoids the OHKO from it.
Conversely the only popular grass decks around, Jumpluff and perhaps some Vespiquen variants are incinerated/destroyed by Charizard, and even the vanilla damage of Quilava and Ninetales is enough to deal with them if you are unable to get Charizard set up.
Charizard’s most difficult matchup is arguably Vilegar or any deck that utilises Power Lock, such as Regigigas. DialgaChomp could go either way, because Dialga G Lv.X does have a 2x weakness to Fire, although “Time Crystal” shuts off Fire Formation. If they can Warp or retreat it to the bench before you KO it then they have the advantage. Garchomp C Lv.X will also be targeting your benched Ninetales which is your main draw source. However, on balance I would put the matchup in Charizard’s favour because it can one shot everything in their deck, if Time Crystal isnt in play, rendering “Healing Breath” useless.
Anyways let’s check out my build of this deck:
| Pokémon – 25|
4 Charmander AR
|Trainers – 22||Energy – 13|
I have been running this deck since early last season and the list has barely changed over time. Consistency is crucial in Charizard, so there is very little space for techs.
My deck list isn’t standard, nor definitively the best Charizard list you can run, but hopefully it gives you guys an idea how the deck functions.
Now for an overview of the main components of the deck and optional cards you could include:
Ordinarily I wouldn’t analyse an evolving basic because the objective is to evolve as soon as possible, but this Vulpix serves a crucial purpose in times of energy shortage. For no cost its attack “Find Wildfire” allows you to search your deck for two Fire energy and put them into your hand. This allows you to attach an energy the following turn that you wouldn’t be able to do unless you topdecked one, and provides fodder for Roast Reveal. 60 HP also means that you are unlikely to get donked and means this Vulpix is probably the best starter in the deck
The 3-2 line of Ninetales in my list is not standard in Charizard, usually you will see 2-2 or 3-3 as the pyramid lines of the RS era and before have phased out in the current format, however my reasoning behind it is that you shouldn’t underestimate how useful these Vulpix’s attacks are. Reheat, again for free allows you to discard up to 2 energy from your hand and draw two cards for each card you discarded. This can instantly save a terrible hand that will cause you to lose in a few turns, and convert it into something workable.
Essential draw support and without this card Charizard would not be a viable competitive deck. “Roast Reveal” allows you to discard a Fire energy from your hand to draw three cards, which vastly increases set up speed and this built in draw power is the primary advantage Charizard holds over other Stage 2 decks.
Also combines with Typhlosion Prime for energy acceleration.
With the rotation of Uxie LA looming at the end of this season I can foresee a playset of Ninetales becoming sought after for any Fire type deck next season.
The reason I run 2 is because without Azelf to obtain a Pokémon from your prizes, for Uxie to be useful you, you need one in your deck or hand and 2 almost ensures this.
Also there is no obligation to play it down if it prevents Charizard OHKOing one of their Pokémon.
Finally, a good combo is to use Typhlosion Prime’s “Afterburner” to bring a Fire Energy from the discard onto Uxie, placing a damage counter on it in the process. The damage counter is negligible because you then use Restore to send Uxie to the bottom of the deck, achieving three things:
1. It recycles discarded energy back into the deck
2. It allows for another use of “Set Up”
and most importantly 3. It allows you to place another Fire Pokémon on the bench to add 10 more damage to Charizard’s attacks.
Typhlosion Prime HS
A really important card in the deck for energy acceleration and with 2 Typhlosion Prime in play you are effectively able to attach 3 energy cards per turn. It allows for consecutive uses of Charizard’s devastating Burning Tail attack, as well as its own attack – “Flare Destroy.”
Flare Destroy is often overlooked with Charizard’s potential for huge damage, but it can really help in matches like DialgaChomp and Gyarados, discarding special energy like Double Colorless, Special Metal, Warp, and Rescue
A truly monstrous card. Severely undertested and very powerful.
140 HP is high even for a Stage 2 outperforming Kingdra, Garchomp and other Stage 2 archetypes. Fire Formation is one of the greatest Poké-Bodies in the Modified Format right now, the equivalent of a continuous built in 5 PlusPowers.
I was so excited for this card when Platinum: Arceus was released because there hasn’t been a playable Charizard since the Base Set and we were due one.
30-80 for a single Fire energy gives it as much donk potential as Kingdra or Donphan Prime.
“Burning Tail” is the main attack of the deck and has good synergy with Typhlosion Prime’s Afterburner.
Also the 3 retreat cost is not of concern which is why Warp Point/Warp Energy isn’t present in the list, and it could be advantageous because you can Afterburner the discarded energy onto the new active Pokémon you promote.
Lastly, the handy Fighting resistance makes Donphan Prime and Machamp relatively easy matchups.
Infernape 4 Lv.X RR/Rapidash AR
This is the only tech in the list and which you include really depends on your metagame. Some people may choose to omit both and add extra Charizard, Ninetales, Fire Energy, or Rare Candy for consistency.
Infernape 4 Lv.X is highly disruptive and improves your matchup against decks like Vilegar and Gyarados. The concept of Gyarados as you should know is to get 3 Magikarp in the discard and swing for 90 every turn. For this reason Gyarados players will only have one attacker on the field at any one time.
“Intimidating Roar” forces them to switch their active Gyarados with one of their benched Pokémon, which tend to be weak bench sitters like Uxie, Regice, Combee and Sableye, allowing you to score a KO every turn.
It also prevents Umbreon UD from walling every fully evolved Pokémon in your deck by cycling it out of the active spot.
Infernape 4 Lv.X isnt a weak attacker either, Split Bomb for RC deals 20 damage to two of your opponents benched Pokémon, bringing anything strong enough into KO range of Charizard. Also “Fire Spin” for RRC deals 100 damage, with the drawback of discarding two energy. However with a full compliment of Typhlosion Prime you can Fire Spin on consecutive turns.
Rapidash AR on the other hand is a good play if SP is dominating in your area. Its Poké-Body prevents SP Pokémon from damaging it. This sounds incredible, but to gauge how useful the Body is you need to think of the most popular SP Pokémon. Almost every SP deck in existence runs one or a combination of the following cards:
Luxray GL Lv.X can drag something up from the bench with Bright Look and damage it, Dialga G Lv.X shuts down the defense completely with Time Crystal, Blaziken FB Lv.X can pull something up with Luring Flame, and Garchomp C Lv.X can snipe around it.
Regarding Trainers, Supporters and Stadiums the list may look inconsistent due to running 5 individual cards, however my philosophy with Charizard is that as long as you run a high count of staple search and acceleration cards like Broken Time-Space, Rare Candy, Pokémon Collector, Bebe’s Search and Pokémon Communication, you can afford to run only 1 of situational cards like Expert Belt and Fisherman.
In fact including more than 1/2 of these cards will harm your consistency.
Expert Belt is not as necessary in Charizard as most metagame decks because you have the flexibility to play down up to 5 Fire Pokémon on your bench to increase your base damage as necessary. Also there are very few Pokémon in the 140-150 HP bracket that you desperately need a OHKO on.
Fisherman is a Supporter which enables you to retrieve 4 basic energy cards from your discard pile to your hand. This gives you ammunition to attach and a 6 card draw with Roast Reveal
All of the remaining Supporters, Stadiums and Trainers are standard.
Rescue Energy is the card from Truimphant that benefits Charizard more than any other, in combination with Broken Time Space you can play down a KOd Charizard straight after it is knocked out, and charge it up fully with an energy attachment and 2 Afterburners. Of course this is the ideal situation, but even if you cant achieve this, Rescue Energy is necessary for recovery.
In summary Charizard is a very underrated deck, with huge damage potential and a themed draw and acceleration engine. The beauty of a Charizard deck is its simplicity, but undeniable effectiveness.
I’m going to make a bold prediction that Charizard will become tier 1 next season, with the rotation causing some decks to lose their main attacker(s) and others to lose their Trainer/Supporter engine.
SP will be completely dead with the rotation of the SP engine, Gyarados, Machamp, Kingdra and many other decks will all be ruined as their main attacker is rotated. The rotation of Broken Time Space will mean you will have to run a Charizard Spiritomb variant, although this should still work.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading my masterful article and that you learnt something about the amazing deck that is Charizard. I’m taking requests for my next Front Page article so I appreciate any suggestions.
Also I’m thinking about creating my own YouTube show with deck analyses, set analyses, and format predictions, with no intention of copying J-Wittz or PokémanDan, both of whom I have the utmost respect for, and enjoy watching their videos myself.